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Thursday, 30 October 2008

Good weather and good early season winter climbing

After the winter storms of the past few days the winds dropped and the skies cleared on Wednesday.
This early in the season without having had several months of cold weather and severe frosts we knew the ground would likely still be soft, wet and unfrozen under any fresh deep cover. We also knew that certain winter rock routes that didn't rely on frozen turf or ice could be good sport if wintry enough - and they were.
Quite a few other climbers had the same idea and the Northern Corries felt more like a February weekend (less the winter skills groups) rather than midweek in October!
The buttresses certainly looked good and were lightly rimed though the sodden approach trail through deep drifts and the flooded boulder-field gave us an idea of how well frozen some of the easier gullies and turfy lines would or rather wouldn't be! Fortunately everyone seemed to be making sensible route choices and we didn't see anyone climbing the gullies lines or hear much loose rock fall...!
We climbed Hidden Chimney Direct and saw climbers on the Message, Pot of Gold, No Blue Skies? Original Summer Route, White Magic, Pygmy Ridge, Fingers Ridge, Stirling Bomber and no doubt quite a few other routes.
Generally the climbing was on snowed up rock with very little if any usable ice or neve and extra care was required especially on easier ground with any of the granite blocks and vegetation as they were not well frozen in place if at all...!!!
All in all one of the best early season days for a number of years and it looks the winter climbing and even the skiing conditions will continue to improve over the next few days with the Lecht ski area opening it's doors this coming weekend.
I'll upload a number of other photos once I access a broadband connection later this afternoon.
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